Exclusive: Chez Panisse Guy Sam White to Open Northern-Californian Ramen Shop in Rockridge

Sam White
Sam White Photo: Robyn Twomey

Some high-quality ramen is on its way to College Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Rockridge BART station. The unnamed project is from Sam White, one of the founders of food/art collective OPENrestaurant, who’s been obsessed with ramen for a while now, and who led a group of chefs on a tour of Japan’s food communities last fall dubbed OPENharvest. White recently left his job as maitre d’ at Chez Panisse to focus on opening the new shop at 5812 College Avenue, in what was formerly a sushi place called Tachibana. He tells Grub Street that the rumors are true about his plans for a place focusing on Northern California ramen using traditional Japanese techniques, but it’s too soon to talk about an ETA. “We just signed a lease and are at the stage right now of talking to the architect and figuring out timelines,” he says.

He will say, though, that he’s bringing over a chef from Hokkaido, Japan, Jun Furukawa, who owns two ramen shops in Sapporo, to consult with the kitchen and do some training. And if White’s ramen pop-up at Chez Panisse Café last September is any indication, the “Northern California” part is probably going to center around the vegetables, and probably the sourcing of the pork for the broth.

We’re crossing our fingers for this to open before the end of the year, and look for further details down the line.

Earlier: Scenes from OPENharvest in Tokyo, Featuring Some S.F. Chefs
Kitchen heart of Oakland home that radiates warmth [Chron]